Canada-China relations the worst since Tiananmen

Canada-China relations the worst since Tiananmen

By Keith Norbury

The trade relationship between Canada and China is the worst it’s been in decades, according to experts who have studied the machinations of trade between the two nations. “No doubt, Canada-China relations are at a very low point,” said Jia Wang, Deputy Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “Probably one of the lowest points since the Tiananmen incident in 1989.”

The impetus for the deteriorating relationship was the arrest in Vancouver of a senior executive with state-owned Chinese electronics giant Huawei. Meng Wanzhou, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, has been in custody since her arrest on December 1 at the behest of the United States Department of Justice. The U.S. is seeking to extradite her on charges that a Huawei subsidiary allegedly committed bank and wire fraud charges that violated sanctions against Iran. On March 1, the Canadian government announced it would hold an extradition hearing. (more…)

Opinion – Let’s think carefully about the future of Canada’s Defence industries

Opinion – Let’s think carefully about the future of Canada’s Defence industries

Theo van de Kletersteeg

Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to pull Canada out of a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, he said on several occasions near the end of 2018, following allegations that suggest Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was implicated in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. “We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” he told CTV, without elaborating. The deal, worth US$14 billion over 14 years, if all options are exercised, and including spare parts, support and training, would supply the Saudi military with light armoured vehicles (LAVs) manufactured by General Dynamics Canada Land Systems Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. General Dynamics Corporation. The contract is the largest Defence export contract Canada has ever entered into. The PM’s comments represent an evolution in Ottawa’s stance toward Saudi Arabia. In March of 2018, he defended the deal for the armoured vehicles, saying that honouring the contract, which was made under a previous government, “fully meets our national obligations and Canadian laws.” Canada’s arms export laws prevent the sale of weapons to countries that “pose a threat to Canada and its allies, that are involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities, that are under United Nations Security Council sanctions; or whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.” The last provision includes an exemption for countries where “it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population.” (more…)

Ports Asset Transfer Program reduces number of Transport Canada-administrated marine facilities

By R. Bruce Striegler

As we reported in a June 2015 issue of Canadian Sailings, the mission of the federal government’s Ports Asset Transfer Program (PATP) was to expedite the transfer of Transport Canada-administrated port facilities across the country to other federal departments, provincial governments, First Nations and local communities as well as individuals or private corporations. This national collection of marine facilities has been accumulated by Transport Canada over the decades, and includes ports, docks, breakwaters as well as upland and submerged real property. Federal ownership of some of these properties goes back to the time of Confederation. (more…)

Celebrating 30 years of compensating victims of oil pollution

By Anne Legars

After the Torrey Canyon (1967), Arrow (1970) and Irving Whale (1970) oil pollution disasters, the public demanded greater accountability for polluters whose ships caused oil pollution. At the time, there was no adequate mechanism to ensure victims of oil pollution would be compensated. This led to the creation of the Marine Pollution Claims Fund (MPCF), which was essentially a fund of last recourse.

In 1989, legislative amendments changed MPCF into the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF), making it a fund of first and last recourse for the victims of oil pollution damage from ship sources in Canadian waterways (including Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone), and aligning the Canadian regime to international conventions. (more…)

OPINION “We take this very seriously” must be among the most overused platitudes of government and corporate PR machines – how does it apply to GHG emissions?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

With carbon taxes and concern over climate change once again in the limelight, I thought it might be opportune to update an article that was published in Canadian Sailings in November of 2017.

Scientists and green supporters have explained to us during the past decade or so that global temperature increases must be kept well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, if we wish to avoid the more egregious consequences of climate change. Accordingly, the 2015 Paris Agreement requires that signatories to the Agreement implement programmes to reduce national carbon emissions to levels that are thought to result in global temperatures to be kept in check, and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”, compared to the 0.9°C temperature rise that has taken place since 1870. (more…)

Opinion – We should insist that governments regain control over their finances

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

By now we all know that somewhere along the line, the Trudeau government decided to abandon its 2015 election campaign promise to balance the federal budget by the time voters go to the polls again in 2019. Instead, Liberals plan to continue their deficit spending and related borrowing, with Bill Morneau, our Finance Minister, saying that “Every responsible leader knows that a good plan has to be flexible enough to absorb the changes in circumstances because circumstances always change.” Really! With an economy that, to be sure, has its problems, but which nonetheless has produced ever-decreasing rates of unemployment and great corporate profits, the only “changes in circumstances” that I see are higher than anticipated revenues for the federal government and most provincial governments. So how could we go from a projected federal balanced budget to an $18.1 billion federal budget deficit that is now projected for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019? And why is it that deficits are now projected “forever”? (more…)